10-30 Glass pumpkin

[Image above] Creating glass pumpkins is the perfect way to have a “gourd” time! Credit: Images by John ‘K’, Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Only one more day until Halloween, three more days until Día de los Muertos, and two more days before I hit up my local grocery store to buy all the discounted holiday candy.

For some people, Halloween is their favorite holiday because they love to be scared. Horror movies, haunted houses, and scary games fill their schedule on Halloween night.

For myself, I appreciate the more family-friendly Halloween activities (long live the Great Pumpkin!!). In that spirit, I recently attended Pumpkin Nights at the local conservatory and enjoyed jack-o-lantern displays, jugglers performing with light-up clubs, and a photo-op with none other than Snoopy.

To commemorate the experience, I stopped by a pumpkin patch sale on the way out—a glass pumpkin patch sale, that is!

Glass pumpkin patches are a fairly recent staple at fall festivities. In 1990, glass artist Molly Stone, a student of Dale Chihuly, got the idea for glass pumpkins when her garden failed to produce a crop of real pumpkins. Along with her husband Michael Cohn, their glass pumpkins and squash are the “artistic originals,” according to their website.

Glass pumpkin patches range in size, but likely the largest is the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch hosted by the Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI) in California. BAGI, a nonprofit community studio, held the first Great Glass Pumpkin Patch in 1996, and this year the patch included more than 10,000 pumpkins!

The first of likely many. Credit: Lisa McDonald

Looking at the swirly vines and ridged edges, you may think that glass pumpkins are way out of your skill range. But under the direction of a skilled instructor, glass pumpkins are something you could create as well.

This month, Bloomington Creative Glass Center in Indiana released a video showing step-by-step the glass pumpkin-making process. See how each pumpkin gets its unique color, how the twisty vines get attached, and learn the importance of never letting the glass get too cool.

Credit: WTIU, YouTube

Just as pumpkins can grow to giant sizes (and be used as boats), glass pumpkins also can reach large dimensions—especially when Corning Museum of Glass glassmakers work together.

In 2009, eight Museum glassblowers led by George Kennard spent more than 50 hours and 17 attempts to create the world’s largest glass pumpkin, which measures 97 inches (more than 8 feet) in circumference and weighs in at 70 lbs. In the video below, you can take a look at several of the many attempts that went into creating such a large piece.

Credit: Corning Museum of Glass, YouTube